A Bodmin Moor pub and restaurant hit by summer no-shows has introduced a deposit for online bookings.
The Old Inn and Restaurant, in St Breward, says that it regrets to do so, but it has been on the receiving end of a wave of bookings where customers don’t show up.
In a message to customers, the owners of the venue described incidents where the customers who had not shown up had openly admitted to booking several restaurants before choosing where to go on the day without cancelling the others booked, leading to lost revenue.
In one incident, they described how one customer admitted to booking five different restaurants in advance before choosing where to eat, with the venue also turning away walk-ins due to lack of space only for others not to honour their booking without cancellation.
By introducing the £5 per head charge for online bookings over four people, the Old Inn’s owners hope to dissuade people from booking with them unless they intend to turn up, even if the charge won’t cover the losses incurred if the customer proceeds with no-showing without cancelling their booking.
The owners of the Old Inn and Restaurant told customers: “It is with regret that we wish to inform customers that we have decided to take £5 deposits for any online bookings of four people or more.
“In recent weeks, we have seen bookings of eight and sometimes up to 14 people, made online, fail to attend. On occasion, at times when we have turned people away due to lack of space.
“Often these individuals don’t answer phone calls after not attending, but staggeringly some have admitted that they intentionally booked several restaurants.
“One customer admitted up to five bookings on the same evening and having chosen which one they should eat at, failed to cancel the others. This doesn’t affect just us, but our other friends running hospitality businesses in the local area.
“With this in mind, we have made the decision to take a £5 deposit per head on bookings of four or more made online.
“These deposits are fully refundable if the table is cancelled in advance by calling 01208 850711.
“In the event that the booking simply does not attend, the deposits are not refundable.
“In reality, £5 per person doesn’t even come close to covering the cost of a customer failing to attend, but we hope that this will encourage people to call and cancel their reservation if it is no longer required. As always, you can call 01208 850711 to make a booking, or to cancel one.
“Thank you for your understanding.”